Am I a Leader, a Manager or both … What’s the difference?

Am I a Leader, a Manager or both … What’s the difference?

By:  Gary K. Pino, FMP Recently, our staff had an awesome opportunity to visit with a “Small Business” consultant, where we openly discussed a number of topics.  The focus of this meeting was placed on building a more cohesiveness team, improving the channels of communication amongst all Associates and enhancing the general chemistry of the Teams. After being asked a number of questions, my mind started to swirl in wonderment, as I had to evaluate my responses before answering.  In other words, this interview type moment made me think to myself, “how should I answer this question i.e., what hat am I wearing – a leaders hat or a managers hat?”  Is there any difference … well, of course there is …I think!  So, the first way to prove that belief is by defining each term and then go from there. According to dictionary.com, a Leader is a person that either goes before or with others ~ to show them the way; a Leader also conducts or escorts by holding and guiding in direction, course, action, and opinion, etc.  A Manager on the other hand, is a person who has control of an institution or business, and provides guidance and direction to a department, unit, group etc., or of a part, division, or phase of it. I had also learned, way back in my college days, that a leader was the one who created the VISION for the organization, and put it out there for the others to do whatever it took to formulate and materialize that vision into a solid tangible achievable event. While researching this topic for the purpose of writing this blog, I thought that by contrasting the two (2) terms, it would help to provide an even clearer distinction between them.  One (1) difference between leaders and managers is the way they motivate their followers as well as the people who work for them, respectively.  Since Managers demonstrate a position of authority, they have subordinates who are told what to do.  Therefore, the manager’s main responsibility is to get things done through and with others … on time, and within budget. Conversely, when Leaders are leading, they do not have subordinates but rather – they have followers.  Charismatic leader’s possess an appeal that attract people (followers) to their cause … by creating this loyal following, the followers will be by your side through thick and thin. Where am I going with this?  Well, I just learned through further research that according to the article “What is the Difference Between Management and Leadership?”Adapted from “The Wall Street Journal Guide to Management” by Alan Murray, published by Harper Business April 7, 2009, “Leadership and management must go hand in hand. … and … They are NOT the same thing. But they are necessarily linked, and complementary.   Thus, the Leader’s job is to inspire and motivate and the manager’s job is to plan, organize and coordinate.”  Please check out this message and information from “On Becoming a Leader,” by Warren Bennis.  It provides a comprehensive list of the differences between Management and Leadership. Now to make things as clear as mud, Peter Drucker, the Father of Management, tosses another spin on this topic by saying, “One does not ‘manage’ people … The task is to lead people. And the goal is to make productive the specific strengths and knowledge of every individual.” So, in closing, I came away from this exercise feeling you can be both a leader and a manager!  But when Drucker’s philosophy entered the picture, it got me to thinking again… What are your thoughts on this topic?

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